2. Ukrainian authorities / Ukrainian saboteurs
Germany Great Britain Europe Russia Ukraine USA
*No time to relax for Ukraine
The issue of land reform is a hot topic for Ukrainian populists who are already on the rise in the last few years. I just can’t imagine a situation when opposition leader, former prime minister and head of Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party Yulia Tymoshenko and Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko, for whom keeping the status quo is one of the programme bases, could change their minds and support land reform.
Moreover, little is done to explain the essence of the problem to the people. On the one hand, there are populists repeating loud but meaningless slogans; on the other the absence of an articulate explanation of the basics of the reform and how the market is supposed to function afterwards. Sadly, it seems much more likely there will be progress with the anti-corruption court before there will be progress with creating an open market for land sales.
In the context of the upcoming elections, there is another law that is as important and listed by IMF: electoral reform that would establish a proportional representation system with open party lists instead of a current mixed system. Electoral reform is seen in Ukraine as a necessary step to ensure the next parliamentary elections will not mark a decisive rollback from the reform and Western integration agenda. There are real grounds to fear that. Not only because of the strong support of populists parties in the polls, but also thanks to the current composition of the parliament where most of the “old system guys” became deputies thanks to the majoritarian system.
2018 may bring some changes to the Donbas peace process.
However, most of Ukraine’s partners are distracted with their own agendas. Germany is preoccupied with the formation of its own government. France is focused on internal reform of the European Union. So the only parties still actively engaged in the dialogue over Donbas are Ukraine, the US, and Russia.
Russia and the US have a bad habit of meeting to discuss possible future scenarios without Ukraine’s participation. Of course, Ukraine highly values and praises the position and the commitment of the US special representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker, but there are already some voices in Ukraine alarmed that talks about Ukraine take place without Ukraine.
One could only guess why Ukraine has only now adopted a long overdue law recognizing Russian aggression and emphasizing its responsibility for territorial occupation. Maybe one of the many reasons for doing it now is to try to prevent the Donbas conflict turning into a matter that can be decided by the US and Russia without Ukraine.
Recent polls in Ukraine show that people support peaceful resolution but they decisively reject key provisions of Minsk agreement. As long as the mantra “there is no alternative to the diplomatic solution for Donbas and a diplomatic solution is Minsk” is being repeated and alternative solutions are rejected, Donbas is in a deadlock. It is highly improbable Poroshenko will agree to fulfil any of the highly unpopular steps detailed in the Minsk II protocols a year before his possible re-election.
I have never been overly pessimistic about developments in Ukraine but 2018 really gives no grounds to expect big moves and bold decisions. This will be a year of hard but important fights to ensure Ukraine doesn’t stray from the right path. By no means it will be a year to relax. But if we will win those key battles in 2018 we can be more calm whatever elections bring in 2019.
An activist, journalist and co-founder of Global Ukrainians, an international network of Ukrainians worldwide, Kateryna Kruk was awarded the Atlantic Council Freedom Award for her work communicating the Euromaidan revolution to the world. She predicted a frozen conflict in July 2014, which has largely come to pass, and now comments on the progress of crucial reforms in Ukraine.
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: com